• Newly elected President of the UCI, David Lappartient. (Getty)Source: Getty
Newly elected UCI president David Lappartient has addressed a wide range of issues effecting the modern peloton in an all encompassing interview.
By
Cycling Central

24 Oct 2017 - 11:55 AM  UPDATED 24 Oct 2017 - 12:20 PM

In an interview given to Dutch publication Het Laatste Nieuws, Lappartient was out-going as to the issues that he sees impacting cycling now and into the future. Raising the spectre of unfair advantage gained by athletes, Lappartient was quick to point out that the worst was behind the sport.

"The situation is better than ever," said Lappartient. "But we should not let our attention lapse. Nowhere is the fight against doping as fiercely waged as in cycling. One-third of worldwide controls for the biological passport are for cycling. There was a time when it was said that every rider was doped. Now doping is an exception."

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"We need to act urgently against the misuse of cortisone. I think that WADA (World Anti-Doping Authority) is dragging their heels. They cannot tell me that riders who use cortisone are performing less well. If they did, they wouldn't use it.

"Cortisone is not on the banned list, there is no sanction against its misuse. But it does stop the body from producing its own cortisol if external cortisone is administered. That is a problem for the health of the rider. If I am well informed, a lack of cortisol is even lethal.

"I say: too little endogenous cortisol equals no racing. That's how the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) sees it. But since not every team is a member of the MPCC, I would like for the UCI to impose that ban."

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Mechanical doping, or at least the shadow of it, has been a big talking point throughout the past few season within cycling. Cases of found motors have been few and only in lower-grade races, but Lappartient would prefer to be certain.

"I do not know whether technological fraud exists in the peloton. But I want to be sure," Lappartient said.

"I am assuming that technological fraud has been committed in the past. And I am cautious about how it is now. If we are saddled with a scandal of mechanical fraud tomorrow, the disaster will not be overlooked."

The impact of another piece of technology, race radio, has also attracted the attention of the newly minted UCI president. 

"And then you have something else with the earpieces, they make cycling very sensitive to online betting," Lappartient said.

"You can communicate directly with the rider in the race. Officially, the connection goes from a team car to a rider. But technologically, there is nothing that prevents me or you from calling the wearer of the yellow jersey during a stage of the Tour, right? "

When asked if he thought someone could order a rider like Chris Froome to ride according to outside instructions because someone bet on the race, Lappartient said it was possible, and the UCI has to anticipate such possibilities.

"Sports betting is like an iceberg. Ninety percent of the bets are illegal and happen below the waterline. That's how it is in football, tennis and handball. I do not want to get to a day when cycling, once we have clambered from the valley of doping, and the fight against mechanical fraud has been successfully carried out, is undermined by corruption and gambling scandals.

"The UCI does not have a single article in its regulations. Gambling is prohibited is there. But it happens."

"You are cheating against those who are playing fair. And the money you earn from it is at the expense of the earnings of the others. That is theft."

The UCI president will face a struggle to implement all of his plans for cycling. WADA administers the banned substance list, whilst race radios are jealously guarded by the teams, who are keen for safety and tactical reasons to keep in close contact with their riders at all times.